Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Green Party can­di­date Me­tiria Turei said her party would tackle hous­ing is­sues by build­ing thou­sands of new homes that were af­ford­able to rent or buy by low in­come fam­i­lies.

‘‘Hous­ing is a hu­man right. No so­ci­ety can func­tion if wha¯nau have cold damp hous­ing or are forced to live in cars and garages where their kids get so sick.’’

She said every fam­ily needed a warm, dry and safe home to live and raise their fam­i­lies in, and the Greens would work with iwi, hapu¯ , com­mu­nity groups and coun­cils to achieve that goal.

‘‘We will bring in Pro­gres­sive Own­er­ship, a new rent to buy scheme to help fam­i­lies move from rent­ing to own­ing,’’ Turei said.

Un­der the scheme, every rental home would have to meet a com­pre­hen­sive WOF and the party would ex­tend the IRRS so more fam­i­lies could af­ford to rent houses that were safe for their chil­dren.

‘‘We will im­prove the rights of renters for more sta­ble and long term rent­ing, so every­one has a se­cure home,’’ she said.

Ma¯ori Party can­di­date Mei Reedy-Taare said her party would in­vest im­prov­ing the health and so­cial out­comes of hous­ing, such as in­vest­ing in in­su­lat­ing low in­come homes and en­sur­ing Hous­ing New Zealand (HNZ) homes had ex­tra rooms to ad­dress over-crowd­ing.

Reedy-Taare said ad­e­quate hous­ing was a de­ter­mi­nant of health and so­cial out­comes.

‘‘We will es­tab­lish a Hous­ing Sec­tor Com­mit­tee within the first three months of the next Par­lia­ment to co-de­sign a 25 year gov­ern­ment en­abled hous­ing strat­egy that builds on He Whare A¯ huru and ad­dresses the en­tire hous­ing spec­trum,’’ Reedy-Taare said.

As well as sup­port­ing iwi and com­mu­nity led projects grow­ing the num­ber of so­cial hous­ing devel­op­ments, Reedy-Taare said the party would ex­plore the vi­a­bil­ity of trans­fer­ring a pro­por­tion of own­er­ship of state hous­ing to Ma¯ori hous­ing providers, hapu¯ and iwi.

‘‘We will pri­ori­tise a re­view of the rental sec­tor to en­sure that wha¯ nau have ac­cess to suit­able, hab­it­able homes and ten­ure se­cu­rity at a fair price,’’ she said.

Na­tional’s An­drew Fal­loon said his party was mak­ing it eas­ier for Ki­wis to ac­cess hous­ing through the HomeS­tart pro­gramme.

‘‘We’re pro­vid­ing sig­nif­i­cant grants to home buy­ers, help­ing 5,316 fam­i­lies in Can­ter­bury get into their first home in the last two years.’’

House build rates were at the high­est lev­els in a decade, Fal­loon said, with an­other 100,000 homes in the pipeline over the next three years.

‘‘Na­tional have pro­vided sub­si­dies to fam­i­lies to in­su­late their homes, re­sult­ing in more than 290,000 pri­vate homes in­su­lated, with more on the way. We’ve in­su­lated every state house in the coun­try that can be in­su­lated, com­plet­ing more than 30,000 houses. To­gether with new re­quire­ments for land­lords to in­su­late their prop­er­ties, we’ve en­sured more than 500,000 older homes are warmer, drier and safer.’’

But Labour’s Jo Lux­ton pointed to data from the 2013 cen­sus which showed that be­tween 2006 and 2013 home own­er­ship in the Ash­bur­ton District had fallen by five per­cent, the largest de­cline in the coun­try.

‘‘I worry that more young peo­ple are be­ing shut out of the hous­ing mar­ket. Labour be­lieves hous­ing is a right. Every­one de­serves to live in a warm, dry home that doesn’t make you sick.’’

Lux­ton said her party would build more af­ford­able houses to give more peo­ple the chance to own their own home while also lift­ing rental stan­dards.

‘‘Off-shore spec­u­la­tors will not be able to buy our houses, in­stead they must build and add to ex­ist­ing stock. Labour will stop the sell off of our state houses and build more to as­sist our most vul­ner­a­ble.’’

Green Party can­di­date Mojo Mathers said her party would help New Zealan­ders get into their own homes by mak­ing new homes avail­able to fam­i­lies and dis­abled peo­ple on low in­comes on a pro­gres­sive rent-to-buy ba­sis.

Mathers said that de­spite New Zealand be­ing one of the wealth­i­est coun­tries in the world, fam­i­lies were sleep­ing in cars, un­der bridges and in garages.

‘‘This re­quires an ur­gent and di­rect re­sponse from the Gov­ern­ment. The Green Party will build hun­dreds of state homes to help tackle the hous­ing cri­sis,’’ Mathers said.

ACT’s Tom Cor­bett agreed that many more houses were needed and said his was the only party that would scrap plan­ning laws which had ‘‘held home buy­ers to ran­som’’.

‘‘ACT wants to take de­vel­op­ment of hous­ing in our big ci­ties out of the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA) while land sup­ply has re­mained static. The RMA con­tin­ues to grow. It started off 400 pages long; it is now 900 pages, coun­cil plans are too big to even be printed,’’ Cor­bett said.

He said ci­ties needed ded­i­cated ur­ban de­vel­op­ment leg­is­la­tion to pri­ori­tise hous­ing sup­ply and tip the bal­ance in favour of pro­vid­ing enough houses to keep the price at a sen­si­ble level.

‘‘Right now the hous­ing mar­ket is heav­ily re­stricted de­spite claims that it has been ‘left to the free mar­ket’. The re­stricted sup­ply of new land and con­sent­ing of new build­ings has se­verely con­strained the sup­ply and cre­ated high prices.’’

TOP’s Olly Wil­son said in­equal­ity had been ris­ing pri­mar­ily due to the high cost of hous­ing com­pared to av­er­age in­come re­sult­ing in in­creased crime, poverty and men­tal ill­ness.

He said TOP pro­posed clos­ing the tax loop­hole with as­set tax re­form re­sult­ing in the av­er­age house­hold be­ing $2000 bet­ter off per year.

‘‘This will con­trol house prices al­low­ing wages to catch up al­low­ing pros­per­ity to be built on a foun­da­tion of fair­ness. The re­gions will pay less tax en­cour­ag­ing re­gional pro­duc­tiv­ity and pop­u­la­tion growth.’’

TOP would ex­pand so­cial hous­ing with af­ford­able rentals, im­proved in­su­la­tion and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency along with a rental WOF. Wil­son said those changes would help re­duce the costs of health­care, crime, wel­fare, child poverty and men­tal ill­ness.

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